Posted in PB, Read-aloud, So Many Good Books

When a Dragon Moves In

Perfect Picture Book Friday

When a Dragon Moves In (Flashlight Press, 2011) by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard McWilliam is fun book about imagination.

“If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in.” And it will be great–a built in marshmallow toaster, a raft, and a an assist with kite flying. But there are rules on the beach, so you have to hide his smoke and erase his footprints from the sand. Then he eats all of the peanut butter sandwiches, blows bubbles in your drink, and nibbles all the brownies. Which you are blamed for. Plus he kicks sand on your sister. So, you have to tell him to leave. Until…

Read about the author here and see her books here where you’ll see there’s a sequel called When a Dragon Moves In Again.

Check out the illustrator’s many children’s picture books, children’s novels, and magazine illustrations here. You can read his bio here. He also wrote and illustrated Just SNOW Already! (Flashlight Press, 2023).

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, Writing Life

The Beatryce Prophecy

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Beatryce Prophecy (Candlewick Press, 2021) by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Sophie Blackall is an unusual but appealing story.

It starts with a prophecy about a girl who will “unseat a king.” Next we meet Answelica, the goat, whom the monks fear. One day Brother Edik finds a child in the pen with the demon goat. Beatryce doesn’t remember anything but her name. And king’s soldiers are searching for her.

Kate is a two-time Newbery medalist and Sophie is a two-time Caldecott medalist.

Read about Kate’s many novels here, her picture books here, and her early chapter books here.

Check out all of Sophie’s children’s books here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Accidental Apprentice

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Author Amanda Foody has successfully ventured from the YA books to middle grade fantasy with The Accidental Apprentice (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021). I’m excited to see there’s already a sequel planned in the Wilderlore series for next year.

Orphan Barclay Thorne is happy to be an apprentice to the village mushroom farmer. But when he is scared off the path into the Woods he meets a Lore Keeper looking for the same mushroom he needs. The girl is trying to bond with a Beast but it goes horribly wrong and Barclay is bonded with a Lufthund. Driven away from home, Barclay’s goal is to break the bond so he can return home. To do so he must journey to the city of the Lore Keepers who think these monsters are their friends and pets. But does he really fit with his rule-laden village?

Read about Amanda and her other books here. Enjoy several interviews with her about this book here and here.

The cover illustration is by Petur Antonsson–see more of his art here.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Uprooted

uprooted.jpegThe first book I read in 2016 was appropriately a Christmas gift. It’s not technically a YA, however, the main character is 17, so I’m putting it in that category for my readers.
Uprooted (Del Rey, 2015) by Naomi Novik captured me from the opening sentence: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.” This time Agnieszka and the whole village know that her best friend Kasia will be chosen since she is so special. And Agnieszka hates the wizard for that future action. It doesn’t matter that he protects them from the Wood. Or that this happens every ten years as payment. But Agnieszka is wrong about what will happen.
The book was hard to put down, and had believably scary monsters. This fantasy will stick with me and I’m hoping the author will write a sequel.
Naomi Novik is the author of another series, the Temeraire novels. I’ll have to check them out. Read more about the author and her books at her site.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

No Passengers Beyond This Point

What Happened?!
no-passengers.jpgNo Passengers Beyond This Point (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2011) by Gennifer Choldenko is a fantasy that makes you wonder along with the characters.
It starts out when Finn, his older sister India and his younger sister nicknamed Mouse are sent off to live with their Uncle Red because Mom has lost the house. But instead of getting to Colorado, they end up at this strange place called Falling Bird. They can become citizens, or Finn could work for Sparky, or go on to Uncle Red’s. What should they do? Each has a different opinion.
The story is told in multiple viewpoints. I like what happens with all the characters, but confess that Finn is my favorite.
I’ve been a Gennifer Choldenko fan for years, so knew I was getting something good when I got this book. Check out her other books here.